We sat basking in the warmth of the afternoon sun at a table on the Plaza Mayor in Villafranca. Every village on the Camino has a Plaza Mayor, I think it’s an unwritten cultural law. I’m joking, but every village seems to have one. Abi with his cerveza and me with Sangria, we sipped the cold refreshing drinks and desperately tried to keep our eyes open. We ordered mixed salads and another round. It was the perfect ending to a good day. Today. Day 25.
No Vanity, No Dignity
Yesterday, Day 24, as we walked away from Riego de Ambros and toward Villafranca, the sky was gray and drizzly and the trail was a saturated soggy mess. The singing birds had my attention as I spotted a rainbow thinking maybe today the rain will stop.
Lost in my thoughts … schloop, my right heel caught a slick patch of mud and down I went, hard. Fall #2. No damage, just a blow to my dignity. No vanity, no dignity. I was a muddy mess for the rest of the day but thankfully, I was wearing my rain gear in anticipation of the next downpour.
Now, if you’re paying attention I wrote fall #2. Fall #1 happened – of course – on Day 1. As we trekked through knee-deep snow, I fell forward into the snow and could not get up. No vanity, no dignity. It’s my Camino.
A Few Tidbits
Speaking of the Camino de Santiago, here are a few tidbits we thought we’d share. You know, now that we’re old-time(rs) seasoned walkers.
- Since leaving Astorga there are probably twice as many pilgrims on the Camino. You can spot their clean shoes. This afternoon on the plaza I spotted a pilgrim whose pants were pressed perfectly. Yeah, that will last long. And his pants were white. Ha!
- We believe Germans and Aussies outnumber everyone else. We have a friend and with no language communication between us we call out, Hey Germany! Hey America! It works.
- The pilgrims you meet on the Camino, and the locals in each village/city are beyond willing to help.
A Few Words & Pantomime
- With a few words of Spanish and pantomime, you can convey just about anything. We bought a roll of gauze and I wanted to be sure it did not have adhesive. I pantomimed pulling a band-aid off of my hand and grimaced my face in pain. The pharmacist laughed but he knew what I wanted.
- We each have one pair of pants. We’ve worn them every. single. day. for the past 25 days. We have two shirts, one long sleeve, one short sleeve. And our rain gear. That’s it. The other day when Mother Nature was pelting us with frozen rain, I watched pilgrims’ ponchos blowing in the wind and I was grateful we chose pants and jackets.
Red Wine & Cobblestones
- Although he is philosophically opposed to the concept, Abi is growing accustomed to drinking chilled red wine.
- Cobblestone streets are historically charming but I am SO over walking on cobblestone streets!
Sour Gummy Bears
- On the Camino there is always someone in front of you and there is always someone behind you. Isn’t that true in life as well?
- I cannot find sour gummy bears – anywhere.
- Just one English-speaking television channel, just one. We hear American popular music everywhere, but an English-speaking channel…
- Each day, on the Camino, we have no idea what we’ll come across. It’s one of the best things about being out here.
Padding & Tape
For those of you who have asked and for all of the sweet concern you’ve sent my way, my feet are better. Four days in Leon was the best decision. Not only for the sake of my feet, but for my mental health as well. That and we loved Leon, what a beautiful city!
While there we spent 30 minutes with the owner of a sporting gear store who was more than generous with his knowledge of the Camino de Santiago and foot care. All of the blisters healed and disappeared except for the evil alien blister from hell. It is a work in progress though and with padding and tape I can wear a shoe and walk reasonably well.
May 5 & 6
Days 24 & 25
We walked 23.5 miles
Highest elevation: 1,785′